Worried about the current situation of distrust among some ethnic nationalities in the country, the President of Abia Community (Nzuko Ndi Abia) in Cross River State, Prince Raymond Atulomah has stressed the need for Cross River and Abia states to forge stronger ties for socio-economic development of the two states.
|Ben AYADE, Gov. Cross River State|
To achieve the objective, Atulomah said indigenes of Abia State resident in Cross River State were working towards holding the maiden edition of Abia Day fiesta in Cross River State.
According to him, the Southeast and South-south states have a lot in common and have had long history of good relationships that should be improved on.
In a chat with Niger Delta Report, Atulomah stressed that such synergy was necessary to develop the entire region.
He said: “The Abia Day which will hold on November 26, would be the first in the history of the people of Abia State resident in Cross River State. The fiesta will be a showcase for the rich cultural potential of Abians. People know the Igbo as businessmen. But we are not only businessmen. We have technocrats and professionals. We can be reckoned with in all spheres of life. So, we want to hold the fiesta in a grand style.
“We embarked on the Abia Day because we have visited states and they have been showcasing their cultural heritage in their host communities. You will recall that some of us were born here, and some of us married here. But some of us don’t know that there are similarities in our cultures. We also want to let the host government know that Abia State has close
relationship with Cross River State. If we hold the event, it would bring citizens of the two states closer.
“We would display to the world the cultural richness of Abians and also let them know who we are. We want the world to know about us and what we represent. You know that there will be a carnival in December and all the states will exhibit their cultures. So, this is just a prelude of what we are going to showcase during the Calabar carnival.
“We are happy with what Governor Ben Ayade is doing in the state. His commitment to industrialise the state is commendable.
“Abia is good at producing textile materials. So, if you are having a garment factory in Calabar, there is going to be a link. Some of us would benefit from this link. Captains of industry of Abia origin are coming on that day to tell the government how they can collaborate; how they can have that
synergy to work together and see how the two states can be developed.
“The relationship we have with Cross River State currently is very cordial. We have a rapport and that is why we want to use Abia Day platform to heighten it.
“It is going to be a great occasion. We have reached out to our host communities. We have reached out to our traditional rulers here and we have their blessings. The Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Abasi Otu; Ndidem of the Quas, His Royal Majesty (HRM) Ndidem Patrick Oquabor; and Chairman Traditional Rulers’ Council, Southeast Region, His Royal
Majesty (HRM) Eze Eberechi Dick will be our patrons and Fathers of the Day.
“Expected at the event would be Governors of Abia and Cross River states, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu and Prof. Ben Ayade respectively as special guests of honour. Recipients of awards at the event would include Governors of Abia and Cross River states, Speakers of Abia and Cross River states Houses of
Assembly, John Gaul-Lebo and Martins Azubuike; Chairman Obong’s Council, Chief Bob Edem Duke; Cross River State Commissioner for Information, Mrs Rosemary Archibong and Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr Asu Okang, among others.”
Atulomah said they would also use the occasion to solicit support for their multi-purpose hall, to be known as Abia House. “We want to have our own home in Cross River State. I have not seen it elsewhere. We want to begin it here,” he said.
One of the leaders of thought of Abia Community, Prof. Chris Okezie Ijioma, also emphasised the need for both states to work together.
He said: “Whatever meaning you give to anything must be understood within a context, and therefore the Abians who are in Cross River State can only be understood in the context of the state. Whatever we are or continue to be would be as it relates to Cross River State, seeing Cross River State as a whole and the Abians as a part of that whole.
“In this context, the whole cannot thrive without the individuals who make it up. Neither can you say much about the individuals without referring them to the context where they exist. Therefore, we are going to discuss collaborations to make an impact to the government here and how the
government here can protect us. And we speak fundamentally that there has to be a good relationship between us and them. This is because without a good relationship, we cannot make a good impact as we are supposed to. We are working towards unity between Cross River and Abia states. So, whatever is going to be done on the Abia Day would be a
catalyst towards this.”
Legal Adviser of the Community, Kingsley Kalu, also said: “We are the same people. In fact, history has it that the Efiks migrated from Arochukwu in Abia. Culturally, the affinity is so much. There are lots of similarities in our cultures that sometimes I have to wonder why the tower of Babel had to be that we speak different languages. The people here are very open to visitors and very hospitable and the Abians have been integrated so much. So, Abia Day is a forum to showcase and reintegrate the uniqueness of the Abians and Cross Riverians and also to let them know we are closely